New regional biometric security plans spark privacy debate
A debate on privacy issues raised by the regional introduction of biometrics security and identity systems will begin on June 22 at the Middle East’s only event dedicated to the new technology.
With heightened regional security demands and growing concern among financial institutions over identity theft, the organizers report the Middle East Biometrics Forum has seen a rush of delegates registering for the event, which takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai.
Representing more than 12 countries, delegates taking part in the forum include high-level government, police and immigration officials along with executives from petrochemical companies, aviation authorities, banks and telecom companies, among others.
“Gulf governments are introducing multi-million dollar biometric-based identity programs for their civilian populations,” said Conference Director with the Institute for International Research (IIR), the forum organizers, Chris Mullinger, “Private sector companies in the region are also installing large scale systems which incorporate biometric elements to reliably identify staff and customers.”
Biometric technology is about identifying people based on their physical characteristics using information technology. It is considered by many experts as the only reliable solution for protecting the identity and the rights of individuals because it recognizes unique and unalterable features.
Using information stored in databases or on chips in smart cards, biometric identification can involve the contours of a hand or finger, fingerprints or the pattern of an iris. Even variable characteristics can be used such as voice, the way a person writes a signature, the rhythm when typing on a keyboard, or the way they walk.
The forum is endorsed by the Association for Biometrics, a UK-headquartered international body dedicated to creating awareness of biometric technology and applications. It encourages informed debate on issues arising from the deployment of biometrics, such as privacy and public acceptance. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)